If I understand correctly, the people in Genesis 12-50 are known as patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc...), but not the people in 1-11 (Adam, Enoch, Noah, etc...)

Is there a term that refers collectively to these primeval/pre-history type characters from Genesis 1-11?

  • 5
    It's common to call them patriarchs too.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 8, 2015 at 3:39
  • 1
    @curiousdannii I wondered if this would be the case. It's just that I have never personally heard the term patriarch used to refer to anyone earlier than Abraham.
    – Jay
    Jun 8, 2015 at 3:56

2 Answers 2


The men you name are commonly referred to as antediluvian patriarchs, though Abel is not a patriarch, since Abraham was in Seth, not Abel. Antediluvian means "before (the) flood".


Abraham is a "father of the Hebrew people" and Isaac and Jacob are more specifically so. It was Abraham who was the second party in the "Abrahamic covenant" when God committed to him to bless the entire world through "his seed". Adam, Enoch and Noah were indeed patriarchs and fathers of all mankind but Abraham was the father of "God's people" (Ps.13:1, Is.40:1) from whose perspective we have received the scripture.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .